The Montana Supreme Court

The Montana Supreme Court listens to arguments in the Jon Krakauer records request case during a hearing at the Strand Union Building at Montana State University in Bozeman on April 27.

CASEY PAGE/Gazette Staff

All but one applicant for appointment to the Montana Supreme Court will get an interview.

Ingrid Gayle Gustafson, James Gebhard Hunt, Micheal F. Lamb, William Russell McElyea and Martha Sheehy will all interview to fill retiring Justice Mike Wheat’s seat. The successful candidate will have to run for election in 2018 to retain the position.

Cynthia Ford, a law professor at the University of Montana, was not granted an interview. Ford did not disclose on her application that a judge had removed her from a civil case in U.S. District Court in Billings in 1998. Ford says she did not remember the case while completing her application.

“I’m sure not trying to hide anything,” Ford said in an interview in October.

Gustafson is a district court judge in Billings. Hunt and Lamb are Helena attorneys. McElyea is the chief water judge for Montana. And Sheehy is a Billings attorney. Sheehy has represented The Billings Gazette in right-to-know lawsuits.

The Judicial Nomination Commission will conduct interviews on Nov. 16 in Helena. The interviews are open to the public. Deliberations will follow the last interview.

Interviews will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 342 at 301 South Park Ave.

The commission will forward the names of three to five nominees to Gov. Steve Bullock for consideration, after which he has 30 days to name an appointee.

The position is subject to election in 2018. The successful candidate will serve until January 2023.

Judicial Nomination Commission members are district Judge John C. Brown of Bozeman; Janice Bishop of Missoula; Karl Englund of Missoula; Elizabeth Halverson of Billings; Hal Harper of Helena; Lane Larson of Billings; and Nancy Zadick of Great Falls.


Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.